Aberystwyth academic invites you ‘Into the Dark’
09 November 2023
A book exploring the natural phenomenon of darkness and the way that it fires our imagination has been published by an Aberystwyth University academic today.
The work of creative writing lecturer and critically acclaimed author Dr Jacqueline Yallop, ‘Into the Dark: What darkness is and why it matters’ is an in-depth exploration of our primeval fascination and fear of the dark.
Looking at darkness in all its forms, the book draws on science, literature, art, philosophy and history to consider how humans experience the dark and how it captivates, baffles and appals us.
Yallop also considers the darkness through the eyes of her father, who developed dementia and acquired a pre-occupation with the dark as his world reduced.
Dr Yallop said: “Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the dark - by our efforts to capture or avoid it, by the meanings we give to it and the way our brains process it. Over the centuries, the state of darkness has been examined and analysed by art, literature, physics, medicine, religion, psychology, and psychiatry - and yet, it remains a mystery to us. It is a thing of fascination and repulsion, an absence and a presence, a solace and a threat, a beginning and an end.
“As humans, we are occupied by our ongoing battle to eradicate the dark, wiping it out one streetlight at a time. But by doing this, we are overlooking the importance of the darkness to our wellbeing. The darkness offers unique physical and mental benefits to humans and is vital to the rest of nature. I hope that the book will make readers curious about the dark and make them want to experience darkness for themselves - but also to treasure it as something that is precious and should be valued.”
Dr Jacqueline Yallop works in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University, where she teaches prose fiction and creative non-fiction. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching, encouraging students to draw on their knowledge of areas such as art, film, theatre, history or nature to inform their work as writers.
‘Into the Dark: What darkness is and why it matters’ is released on 9 November 2023 by Icon Books.
Dr Jacqueline Yallop
Dr Jacqueline Yallop is a Reader in the Department of English and Creative Writing, and Director of the University’s Centre for Creativity and Wellbeing
She has written three critically acclaimed novels and three works of non-fiction. Her novel Obedience (Atlantic) was nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Her memoir Big Pig Little Pig (Figtree) was Radio 4 Book of the Week. Her work has been translated into several languages.
Yallop has always been fascinated by beautiful, historic and quirky things. Having trained as a curator, she worked with collections in Manchester and Sheffield, including Ruskin's Guild of St George Collection. Her PhD explored narrative in display, museum and the novel in the nineteenth century which included, among many other things, the eccentric lives of Victorian collectors.